"We know only too well that after they graduate, our students expect to meet the requirements of a highly globalized job market. Our scientists are carrying out research on topics and challenges that can only be addressed on a global scale, for example, climate change, sustainable food production and logistics as well as biodiversity conservation. This is why internationalization is a key component of our University's strategy; only with a clearly defined international profile can we create opportunities for our students and employees as well as added value for society as a whole," said Professor Hans Reiner Schultz, President of Hochschule Geisenheim University. In order to strengthen its own position, Hochschule Geisenheim University successfully participated in the "Internationalization of Universities" audit performed by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) over a ten-month period in 2019. It received official certification in recognition of its efforts at the recent HRK Annual Conference in Berlin.
The audit allows the HRK project team to support institutions of higher education in Germany to systematically develop and enhance their overall internationalization strategies. A project group representing all of the University's teaching, research and administrative units reviewed the current status of internationalization at Hochschule Geisenheim University and worked out priorities and strategies for the future.
Even if approximately 30 percent of all students are already acquiring study or practical experience abroad through the ERASMUS+ scheme alone, Hochshule Geisenheim University would like to increase this figure even further. Following the re-accreditation of degree programs, decision-makers are examining whether more English-language modules can be added to the curriculum. This should not only make the University even more attractive for international students, it will also offer students who are financially or privately less mobile the opportunity to experience internationalization at home. Administrative staff are to be prepared for this wide-ranging internationalization strategy through language courses, among other things.
"The audit and its objectives and measures as well as the recommendations made by the team of experts are a good basis for an enhanced systematization of the internationalization of all areas of our University," said Dipl.-Ing. Agr. Sonja Thielemann, Head of the International Office at Hochschule Geisenheim University. She also referred to the University's successful track record with regard to internationalization: foreign students at the University already make up around 13 percent of the student body. Fifty percent of its Master's degree graduates are from abroad, whereas the average at German universities is 18 percent. A quarter of the degree programs at Hochschule Geisenheim University are international, this means that they are offered either in English or in cooperation with international partners. In this respect, Geisenheim is also well above the national average (11 percent).
Hochschule Geisenheim University already has about 160 international cooperation partners - institutions of higher education, universities and research institutes - in all corners of the globe. It intends to utilize this extensive network more intensively for the benefit of its students as well as to enhance the visibility of its research activities.